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In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire is a visual art project designed generate excitement, facilitate mutual understanding and promote meaningful dialogue on issues related to fire science and society. The interaction between artists, fire managers and scientists can promote understanding and awareness of the scientific basis behind fire management practices in the context of Alaska's changing ecosystems.


Spruce Fire by Ree Nancarrow

"Spruce Smoke", fiber art by Ree Nancarrow.

Nine local artists were invited to embrace the inspiration of wildfire, fire science and fire management to create a unique art exhibit. “In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire” is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program and was developed by the Alaska Fire Science Consortium (AFSC) and the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Station (BNZ LTER).

The work facilitates a sense of place, and helps to understand the functionality of fire in the ecosystems of Interior Alaska. Understanding that role is an important part of effective land management. 

The project brings together not just two perspectives on the subject but three: The management component unveils another layer of expertise and inspiration.

Read the project brochure (pdf) for more information.


Four field trips were organized giving artists a behind-the-scenes look at what happens when a fire occurs, how scientific information is used in management decisions, and the many facets behind long-term ecological disturbance studies.

The field trip element was structured for two-way exchange, allowing all participants to become immersed in the environment.

Read more about each field trip.


“We wanted to offer information on the proactive fire management side and pair that with fire science, how fire affects vegetation, and allow that to be fodder for creative output.” - In a Time of Change program director Mary Beth Leigh.


Artists at Denali National Park

Participants hike out to explore a fire scar from 2002 near Horseshoe Lake in Denali National Park. (Photo by Jen Northway)

Exhibit Events

The culmination of this project was a formal art exhibit at the Bear Gallery, Alaska Centennial Center For The Arts, Pioneer Park. The nine artists unveiled their work on August 3rd with a First Friday Reception from 5-7 pm. 

Take a tour of the Bear Gallery Exhibit

Members of the fire management community and the public were also given an opportunity to share their wildfire experiences and observations through a Community Art Show.  This show also opened on August 3rd with a First Friday Reception from 5-7 pm at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, Morris Thompson Center.

Take a tour of the Community Art Show

Additional events included a Studio Tour with artist Phil Marshall at the Polhavn Woodfabrik Shop on August 4th, along with a Lecture/Discussion Series at the Morris Thompson Center.

Watch the Lecture Series Videos

A portion of the Art of Fire works were exhibited at the Leah J Peterson Gallery at the Alaska Pacific University (APU) in Anchorage. The exhibit ran from January 4-27 2013 at the APU Gallery.

An additional selection of the Art of Fire works were selected for display at the National Science Foundation headquarters in Virginia, as part of the Ecological Reflections – Sense of Place in Changing Places exhibit showcasing artist-scientist collaborations at LTER sites (Feb 28-Jun 15, 2013).

See the full Schedule of Events for more details.

Science Integration with Arts and Humanities

The Bonanza Creek LTER formed the In a Time of Change (ITOC) network in 2007 with the goal of integrating scientific and artistic perceptions on our changing ecosystem, offering an exchange of perspectives from the arts, sciences and humanities and creating original work informed by that two-way exchange.

Previous events included workshops and field trips, culminating similar events featuring visual, written and performance art in Fairbanks in recent years.

Find out MORE about previous ITOC events.